SHANGHAI, Aug 21 (SMM) – Trades of spot nickel across Shanghai market slightly improved on Wednesday August 21, as prices fell for a third straight day, but the generally high prices kept buyers cautious.
Russian nickel was quoted in a wider discount of 300 yuan/mt against the nickel contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange for October delivery, compared to 250 yuan/mt on Tuesday. Jinchuan materials were in an unchanged premium of 900-1,000 yuan/mt.
The producer, Jinchuan, lowered its offers for nickel plates in the Shanghai market by 900 yuan/mt from Tuesday to 124,100 yuan/mt, and most trades were done at 123,200-124,500 yuan/mt.
Prices of high-grade nickel ore extended their gains this week, as nickel pig iron producers began stockpiling ahead of rainy season in the major producing area, Surigao in the Philippines, and as sea freight climbed.
Sea freight charges from Surigao in the Philippines to Lianyungang port climbed to $10.5/wmt as of August 21, up $0.5/wmt from a week ago. High-grade nickel ore with 1.8% Ni was offered at $64-65/wmt cif, and traded at $60-62/wmt.
The ferronickel market in China held stable on Wednesday, as producers were reluctant to lower their offers. Expectations of a supply decline and consumption boom improved market sentiment.
Higher ore costs, power supply disruptions at some northern producers and low operating rates across southern producers will lower supply, while a high consumption season in September- October is approaching.
Steel mills will soon issue their procurement tenders for high-carbon ferronickel for a new month, and settled prices for those tenders are expected to provide clues for the market.
Quotes for spot stainless steel in Wuxi mostly stayed flat from the previous day on Wednesday, supported by robust nickel prices. Trades, however, were poor amid weak demand.